Ahead of the 2022 season, the Cleveland Browns gave Deshaun Watson a fully guaranteed contract despite his off-field issues. Now, the Browns will be without Watson for the rest of 2023. The Miami Dolphins need to be smart with Tua Tagovailoa's next deal.
The Dolphins will soon need to navigate the murky waters of a franchise quarterback contract. This is one of those rare situations for the Dolphins. They haven't had to deal with a mega-contract at the position since, well, ever.
Sure Dan Marino made a lot of money back in the 80s and 90s but that was nothing compared to what QBs are making today.
The new era of the NFL is all about paying and most of the time, overpaying for a quarterback. Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert both have new deals while Tua Tagovailoa plays this year on his rookie salary and next year on his 5th year option barring a new contract.
More than likely, the Dolphins will address the contract situation this upcoming off-season. When they do, they have to be cautious with the wording and structure of the deal.
Tua is going to command a lot of guaranteed money, but there is also a legitimate concern about his health in terms of concussions (knock on wood). Miami has to have a safety net but at the same time, Tua needs a safety net as well given the fact it is his health and well-being are on the line each Sunday.
Watson's deal was a rush job by the Browns to get the trade done and make Watson happy in the process but did it really need to be fully guaranteed? Absolutely not and teams will start to realize that fully guaranteeing any contract isn't a good idea no matter the player.
Miami will navigate these waters sooner than later and again, both sides need to have an understanding that each will seek certain protections from injury.
Tua isn't going to get a massive fully guaranteed deal but easily will walk away with more than $100 million guaranteed. The interesting piece will be the limit of that guarantee. One thing is for certain, QBs these days are well protected by the league rules but that doesn't stop them from getting hurt and in some cases, knocked out for a season and maybe more.